Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Gear Purchase

When Tom and I married we got a very nice set of packable sleeping bags as a wedding gift. These are some seriously warm bags. Sleeping in my sleeping bag had become increasingly uncomfortable. This was one seriously narrow bag, I even thought that BEFORE I had two children and a sedentary job.

We were going camping at the yurt last week and I could not bear the thought of sleeping in that restrictive bag. Tom took pity on me and suggested we look for a new bag. I had not even thought of that. I guess I just assumed all packable bags were super narrow so that they would be extra light.

Off we went to several gear stores. We looked at loads of lovely bags, some good up to -25F. Yikes! I don't want to camp in that weather. These bags all had nice features and fabulous names like the Meadow bag, the Chrysalis, Mirror Pond, the Aleutian. What do you think the name of the bag that fit me was called? Any guesses? Any?

The Bighorn! I kid you not! Sheesh! I think the marketing folks at The North Face may want to take a look at that one. It was heaven to sleep in. Ahhh...


For the first time I can remember we have Redpolls hanging around into the spring. They are lovely, lively birds in winter, flocking up in large groups. The spring is all about couples. This little man is in his courting suit, all decked out. The change in color is very startling and noticeable. I will try to get some better pictures in the next while.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Extreme Spring Makeover

Can you guess what I did today? Above is a before shot.

And here is an after! And I even managed to have a fantastic Fairweather IPA at the Bear Tooth with Tom. He was celebrating his last day of the school year with kids in the classroom. Yippy!

Zoey and Vivi are really enjoying the lovely weather and the forced time outdoors.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sunset Theatre

The sunset theatre is open and ready for business.

The sun is marching ever north this time of year; it sets in the northwest, rises in the northeast. It is up for over eighteen hours everyday. Sunsets are long, drawn out and glorious.

Sunday evening was particulary spectacular.

Our big drift is succumbing to the warmth.

So is the snow loaded up in parts of the yard.

And the Copper River reds are running, so I am smoking fish. Yeehaw!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Grow, Grow, Grow!

Vivi has been having a big brain burst lately. She has been constantly busy, constantly questing. She has taken on the task of reading through writing. I am fascinated by this approach.

Zoey learned to read at a phenomenal rate, mostly through whole word recognition. She wanted absolutely nothing to do with the physical act of writing. She preferred to find other ways to express herself and her ideas.

Vivi is all about the writing. She loves the process, she wants to learn new numbers and letters all the time. She writes constantly. She even enjoys the little dotted tracing pages.

Her constant need for food has doubled recently, craving protein all the time. She is leaving me exhausted! She is an amazing little person, with a unique and highly developed perspective.

Vivi and I made her a bank this week out of an oatmeal box. We did some groovy decoupage. She really stuck with this project, throwing herself into it. She has also put together a Little People megalopolis. There has been a giant imagination game ongoing for days now.

It was a busy week even without Vivi's growing brain; there was the end of school picnic for Zoey's school, the new construction project at work that took many hours of meetings on my days off, and the blustery, nasty weather kept us inside. I will have more to share in the next few days as there is now sunlight and new birds. Also mammals!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother of the Year

Look, two of my favorite mothers. That's my mom, Mother Mary, on the left. My sister, Liz, is on the right. These are some incredible moms. They have raised some of my most favorite people. They have done it some trying circumstances. Mary is even working on her second generation of mothering. Thanks for taking such good care of the kids in your life. Thanks, Mom, for helping me, teaching me, loving me and my children. I love you.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Side Effect?

A troubling development at the homestead -- the Sparkly Red Heart Pox. I wonder which one of last week's vaccines has this as a side effect? Hmmm....


Yesterday was a rather raw, breezy day. The girls and I had heard of all sorts of lovely things happening at Potter's Marsh. We headed over there to find it was very, very terny. There were hundreds of Arctic Terns. We also saw a few Canvas-backs, Red-necked Grebes, and a few Canadian Geese.

We even spotted a pair hanging out. I'm not sure if they were still courting or if they had made it to the nesting phase.

As we were leaving we even saw a Muskrat. I had never seen one there before. Pretty cool.

I also finished some baby hats. My friend, Janarose, is having a boy next month. I thought he might need a few stylish chapeaus.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


On Wednesday I took the girls to the public health clinic here in town for some vaccinations. Vivi needed to finish up all the early childhood vaccines and Zoey for a tetanus booster and the HPV vaccine. We got there just as they opened for the afternoon. There was one little girl and her mother ahead of us. They were in and out in about fifteen minutes. Then it was our turn.

We went in the little office with the nurse. She explained all about the diseases we were preventing, the possible side effects. She had to see if Vivi was done with one or not. The nurse had to set up in little plastic trays all the vials and syringes. It took some time. There was a bit of build up.

Zoey went first, to set a good example for Vivi. And because Vivi insisted. Zoey was calm. She did shout "Owww!" on the HPV. She said it stung like crazy. While we were finishing up with Zoey the second nurse came in.

Vivi's turn came. She began screaming! "I won't get a shot! Momma, don't let them give me a shot! Don't let them hurt me! Momma, Momma, noooooo!" She climbed me like a monkey. She was screaming in my ear. I was mortified and laughing at the same time. I was trying to soothe her, too. It was so surreal.

I sat in a chair with Vivi clinging to me, face planted in my chest, arms around my neck. One nurse held her arm, the other did the deed. She was screaming. Until the needle went in. Then she was silent. She pulled her head back and looked me in the eye. Surprise written in her face. It was only a little pinch. For the next two vaccines she was much more calm. She thanked the nurses when we were done.

As we left, the waiting room was filled with about a dozen folks. All of them smirking. They heard everything.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day

This is for Nina and her bank of poppy promise.

Mary Oliver

The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn't a place
in this world that doesn't

sooner or later drown
in the indigos of darkness,
but now, for a while,
the roughage

shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
of course
loss is the great lesson.

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it's done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
deep, blue night?